Tour de France 2021: Nils Politt wins stage 12 as Tadej Pogacar retains lead

Nils Politt

Nils Politt soloed to victory on stage 12 of the Tour de France as Tadej Pogacar retained the leader’s yellow jersey.

The German broke clear with 12km left on the 159.4km run to Nimes after being involved in a long-range 13-man breakaway.

Pogacar finished safely in the peloton behind Britain’s Mark Cavendish.

“It’s a dream to win a stage in the Tour de France. It’s the biggest win you can have,” Politt said.

On Friday the race travels 219.9km from Nimes to Carcassonne.

Politt’s victory came after his Bora-Hansgrohe team-mate and three-time world champion Peter Sagan was forced to withdraw prior to the start in Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux.

But while Sagan, who has won a record seven green jerseys at the Tour, is still feeling the effects of a crash with Caleb Ewan on stage three, Politt showed he was in excellent condition, a day after a punishing double ascent up Mont Ventoux.

He latched on to a strong group of riders containing current world champion Julian Alaphilippe and launched a superb late attack to ride away from Imanol Erviti and Harry Sweeny, who finished second and third.

“I felt good in the last few days, I was trying to do my best today but to come away with aa victory is unbelievable,” he added.

All the pre-stage talk had centred on Mark Cavendish with the flat parcours designed to favour the sprinters.

However, after a 10-minute delay to the start due to the wind, the conditions then contributed to a frenetic start as several early attacks split the peloton.

And it ensured that the Manx sprinter would have to wait for his opportunity to equal Eddy Merckx’s record of 34 stage wins.

Stage 12 results

1. Nils Politt (Ger/Bora-Hansgrohe) 3hrs 22mins 12 secs

2. Imanol Erviti (Spa/Movistar) +31secs

3. Harry Sweeny (Aus/Lotto-Soudal) Same time

4. Stefan Kung (Swi/Groupama-FDJ) 1mins 58 secs

5. Luka Mezgec (Slo/BikeExchange) 2mins 06secs

6. Andre Greipel (Ger/Israel Start-Up Nation) Same time

7. Edward Theuns (Bel/Trek-Segafredo)

8. Brent van Moer (Bel/Lotto-Soudal)

9. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra/Deceuninck-Quick-Step)

10. Sergio Henao (Col/Qhubeka NextHash)

General classification after stage 12

1. Tadej Pogacar (Slo/UAE Team Emirates) 47hrs 22mins 43secs

2. Rigoberto Uran (Col/EF Education Nippo) + 5mins 18secs

3. Jonas Vingegaard (Den/Jumbo Visma) +5mins 32secs

4. Richard Carapaz (Ecu/Ineos Grenadiers) +5mins 33secs

5. Ben O’Connor (Aus/AG2R Citroen) +5mins 58secs

6. Wilco Kelderman (Ned/Bora-Hansgrohe) +6mins 16secs

7. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz/Astana) +6mins 30secs

8. Enric Mas (Spa/Movistar) +7mins 11secs

9. Guillaume Martin (Fra/Cofidis) +9mins 29secs

10. Pello Bilbao (Spa/Bahrain Victorious) +10mins 28secs